saga/title/fandom: Adagio chapter 1 (A Man Apart)

author: Rae/Celtia/Celtiareborn

rating/genre: (NC-17) - Romance/Crime Drama

warnings: het, language, violence, and graphic sexual content

summary: Officer Sean Vetter, formerly of the DEA, tries to rebuild his life in Chicago after losing his wife in a botched assassination attempt on his own life. Joining the Chicago Special Tactics Unit, Vetterís bitterness toward life and sullen determination not to care for anyone makes him a nightmare of potential partners, until a stubborn Irish woman named Kate Shea decides she isnít going to let Vetter chase her away Ė from his career or his life. (Sean/OFC)

comments/disclaimers: My summary and first chapter pretty well give away the plot of the movie, so if you haven't seen it yet you might want to wait to read this until you have. FEEDBACK: Two conditions: Please talk to me, not at me; Please do not rewrite my stuff and send it to me the way you would do it. Otherwise have at it. Thanks. ARCHIVE: A qualified yes Ė I would not like the story to appear anywhere else without the person discussing it with me first. NOTES: The story does involve a stalker. Also, there is some violence stemming from Vetter and Kateís jobs as undercover officers. NOTE II: There is some Russian used in the story but I try to explain it unless it explains itself.

CHAPTER ONE

Kate stared into the conference room. She watched as Vetter sat sullenly at the table in a fatigue jacket, tapping his fingers impatiently and continually checking his watch. He looked like he expected to miss the last El out before a riot started.

So this was the legendary Sean Vetter, terror of the Chicago Special Tactics Unit. Six foot two inches tall, though everyone who saw him swore he was at least three inches taller, 225 pounds of solid muscle and bad attitude who worked his way through four partners in his six months with the department. The word from California was that he was a terrific DEA agent until his wife was murdered in a botched hit on him. Then he went ballistic and began a personal crusade to discover the identity of the man who had her killed. Turned out it was a guy heíd put in prison, some Mexican drug lord who tricked Vetter into thinking a rival gang was responsible for his wifeís death and escaped when Vetter arranged a transfer to another prison for him. Vetter went after him, found him in his own turf, and had him arrested. But people who saw the capture go down said it was a toss up to the last second about whether heíd let the back up team take the guy or shoot him in the head.

Whispers circulated around the department that Vetter discovered the shooter while undercover and beat the guy to death with his fists. His partner covered the incident by shooting the guy after he was dead and doing a throw down but everybody knew that Vetter killed the murderer. The word was out in Chicago: this guy had a fuse that was constantly ready to ignite. He kept to himself and anybody with an ounce of common sense let him. Thatís why he went through so many partners. He refused to connect with people. Nobody got in and he never came out.

Kate studied him a while longer. She noted the near blackness of his eyes. A ring of a moustache framed his mouth and tapered up his jaw line and his shoulders were so broad that half the window behind him disappeared. He looked as if someone carved him out of granite and stuck a face on top.

This is the biggest human being Iíve ever seen, she thought.

"Ready?"

She cast a glance at Captain Porter. "How come I always have to play social worker?" she asked.

He grinned. "Because youíre our only woman."

"Very funny. Answer my question for real."

"You did wonders with Fraser. You can do the same for Vetter."

"Fraser was gun shy after killing that kid in the raid on the warehouse. He just needed a little time to accept that he had no choice. He was not some psycho who could have passed as the poster child for maladjustment," she contended.

"Kate, Vetter has been through too many partners. If we donít manage to hook him up with somebody permanent soon weíre going to have to transfer him out of the unit and I donít want to do that. You read his record from California: itís spectacular. Heís done good work while heís been here. The problem is that none of the guys heís been paired with trust him to be there if they need him because working with him is like working with the sphinx," Porter explained.

"So let him go solo."

"Too dangerous. If he gets out on the street thinking he can run his own show we could have a nightmare on our hands."

"Since when did we become the refuge for Californiaís nutso cops?" she demanded. "I still donít understand how Vetter even got here. Word is he didnít want to come."

"His partner left the force late last year. I guess theyíd been together for a long time and Vetter didnít handle his leaving very well. I met his DEA chief at a conference and he asked if I needed could use a great agent who might need a little extra help adjusting to a new environment. It was right after Byron got killed. I thought Vetter was worth taking a chance on," Porter explained.

"So you take the chance and I have to do all the shit work. Thanks a lot."

"Youíre very good with people, Kate. I really believe you can get through to this guy, make him open up enough to be solid with a partner. Just approach this like any other assignment. Itís a challenge."

Kate sighed heavily. "All right, Iíll give it a shot. How long do I have to play nursemaid before admitting I canít fix him?"

"Three months."

"Three months? Címon, Cap, donít give me a ninety day sentence. Make it a month. Iíll know by then if heís hopeless."

"Everybody else gave up on him after three weeks. Edwards didnít even last that long. If someone stuck it out for three months we might not be having this conversation," Porter said.

Kate muttered a strain of profanities, then shrugged. "What the hell," she said, starting toward the conference room. "He canít be tougher to handle than my ex-husband."

When she walked in Vetter stared at her. He watched her cross toward him. He observed a pretty woman in her thirties, red-haired, about five-foot-four, with nicely rounded curves and eyes as green as those of the cat he and Stacey had. He noted her badge and her body, giving away nothing of what he thought about either one. She walked to his chair and extended her hand.

"Iím Kate Shea, your new partner. Nice to meet you, Vetter."

He did not respond to the gesture. "Why is Porter giving me you?" he asked.

"Maybe because youíve already worked your way through most of the department and Iím the only one left."

"Shit!" Vetter pounded his fist into the table. "Iím not doing this. Iíll tell Porter myself."

He rose and started out the door but before he reached it Kate said, "It wonít make any difference. No one else will even consider partnering with you. If I donít make something work with you youíre outta here."

He stopped, turned to face her. "I want to work alone."

"Sorry, Garbo, Porter wonít let you. Heís afraid youíre too wired to handle yourself without somebody to watch your back," she said.

A cynical smile twisted itself around Vetterís mouth. "I need somebody to watch my back?" he echoed. "Lady -"

"Lady?" she cut in. "Youíre assuming a lot."

"Iíve been on my own since I was twelve. The only person I ever needed to protect me was me."

"And Hicks."

His emotion softened a little. "Demetrius was my partner and always will be. The fact that he left police work doesnít change that," he said.

"Look, Vetter, I am no more happy about this gem of an assignment than you. My partner Byron got killed last year. Since then Iíve been paired with one guy who needed a little help to get past something and spent the rest of my time at a desk. I want back out on the street but not enough to play nanny to a jerk who imagines heís a bad ass who has never heard of the words "team work". But weíre stuck with each other for ninety days unless you want to save us both a lot of trouble and take up house painting for a living," she said.

Angry as he was, Vetter could not help but admire this womanís bluntness. He liked people to be straightforward. He wanted to know who he was dealing with and he had a feeling he would with her.

"Howíd your partner buy it?" he asked.

The question threw her. She shifted uncomfortably, clearly deciding just how much she should tell him. Finally she answered, "Took a bullet in the head that I couldnít save him from."

The color drained from Vetterís face; he did not expect that response. "Thatís tough. Sorry."

"Shit happens. Itís time for the meeting to get assignments for the day. If you arenít turning in your badge for a paint sprayer I suggest we get our asses down there."

She left the office before he could respond. He stared after her as she disappeared down the hall. What the hell, he thought as he put on his dark glasses.

When he walked into the conference room Captain Porter was about to begin his daily speech about what that dayís assignments.. Every eye in the room turned toward Vetter. He crossed to the table and took a seat at the far end. Kate was the closest person to him and she sat three chairs away.

"Okay, folks, letís get started. Itís May 22nd and Mr. Kafelnikov and the boys from Moscow are still our biggest problem. Overnight reports say a shipment of weapons is on its way from Chicago to Russia as soon as Kafelnikov can set it up. We obviously want to intercept that shipment when itís ready to go overseas. To that end we are beginning a constant surveillance of Kafelnikovís residence and office. If he so much as wipes his ass we are going to know about it," Porter announced.

"Do Russians wipe from front to back or back to front, sir?" Monaghan asked.

"You know, youíd be funny if Iíd never finished third grade," Porter replied, and everyone laughed but Vetter. "Seriously, we need to nail this guy once and for all. Heís been getting bolder lately, branching out. I have a feeling that weíll find more in this shipment than the usual rifles and mortars he deals in."

"Like what?" Kate asked.

"Chemical weapons."

A low murmur went around the table.

"Kafelnikovís never gone near anything like that before," Edwards said. "Are you sure, Cap?"

"Not 100%, but enough that Iím very nervous at the idea that our Russian friend will think that once he manages a shipment like that heíll think the whole damn world is ripe for destruction. It wouldnít surprise me if this guy tried to go nuclear someday," Porter explained.

"Holy shit. Heís really getting out there," Gash commented. He dressed like Vetter but still managed to look human. "I guess Byron was right: he is crazy."

"I think we can safely assume that Mr. Kafelnikov has engaged in one too many cocaine parties and fried what little was left of his brain. Pair that with his innate psychopathology and you come up with one extremely dangerous man," Porter said. "We need 24-hour coverage on this, especially at the office downtown. He loves to work at night. So these are the surveillance assignments and times: Fallon and Parker, 1st shift, office; Gash and Turner; second shift office; Sellers and Hall, 1st shift residence; Edwards and Monaghan, 2nd shift residence; Shea and VetterÖ" here everyone turned to look at the two of them "Ö3rd shift office, alternating with 3rd shift residence. Until we get Fraser, Quick, Fox and Parker back from narcotics weíre going to have to make you two responsible for both places."

"Somebodyís very, very lucky," Monaghan whispered to Kate with a grin.

She ignored him. "Cap, would you mind explaining just exactly how Vetter and I are supposed to pull that off?" he asked.

"Your assignment will be based on the activities observed by the other teams during the day. Depending on where the greater amount of action is, youíll stake out the office or the house on Pine Road, or possibly split your shift between both," Porter explained.

"Why canít we borrow a team from narcotics while our guys are over there?" she asked.

"Because theyíre understaffed as it is. Those are your assignments, people. For those of you not on duty at the present time I suggest you make your plans with your partner and go home for some sleep," Porter said.

He left the teams in the conference room. One by one the agents arose from the table and gravitated toward their partners. Kate walked over to Vetter.

"Iíll meet you here at 11:30 tonight," she announced.

"11:45," he said.

"11:30. We need to be sure we get to our post on time."

"You can be here whenever you want. Iíll be here at 11:45," Vetter said as he pushed roughly past her toward the door.

"Fuck you too," she whispered.


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